The largest flatfish in the world, Pacific halibut are prized for their thick, succulent steaks and fillets, as well as for their mild flavor. It is often said that halibut has the most distinctive flavor of any white fish, and its culinary versatility makes it a menu staple.

The halibut’s scientific name means “hippo of the sea” in Latin, which is not a bad way to describe the immense fish. Capable of growing to more than 8 feet in length and 700 pounds, even the smaller commercially caught variety tip the scales at 20-100 pounds. Large halibut (more than 80 pounds) are sometimes called “whales,” while small ones (less than 20 pounds) are called “chicken halibut.”

About 25,000 tons of Pacific halibut are caught every year; Alaska accounts for 80% of that number. Another 5,000 tons or so of their close relative, the Atlantic halibut, are also landed annually.

Availability: Seasonal

Origin: Wild; Pacific Northwest, Alaska

Texture and Flavor: White, delicate, lean, flaky

Cooking Methods: Saute, broil, grill, deep fry, steam

Substitutes: Cod, Haddock